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BTTF "Directed" gameplay

posted by Toothless Gibbon on - last edited - Viewed by 1.6K users
TTG have gone on record to say that the game will more more directed (i.e linear) than many of their other games. I'm sure it will make it even more cinematic and more engaging for players new to genre but I have to say its worrying me slightly that it will be too easy.

If puzzles and solutions are contained to the screen/set/location they are in, is this not Escape The Room territory?

What does everything think? Does more directed = more hand holding? Do you think this will make the game shorter for seasoned adventurers?
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  • I trust Telltale, they know what they're doing. If it wasn't necessary, they wouldn't have taken this direction.

    In the worst case scenario, it will probably play like an interactive movie, even so it will be good...kind of like a BTTF 4 which is something we all want to see :)
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    Vainamoinen Moderator
    I was worrying about that too. TTG really shouldn't go for MORE linearity in their gameplay. It's one thing to reduce the aimless wandering between scenes just to find a piece of inventory you previously missed, but it's quite another to make a game that just has one scene at a time with an extremely limited set of options as to what can be accomplished in that scene, and you're just led from scene to scene. More linearity might make the game more "accessible", but it would also make the game plain boring.

    But that's not necessarily what this statement is about, at least not exclusively.

    Firstly, we still do not know exactly how big one setting will be in the BTTF game, and it's the wandering BETWEEN settings that could be quite ennerving in the Sam&Max games. If we get Doc's Lab as a setting, would we also be able to step outside within the same setting? If Lone Pine Mall is a setting, will we be able to step into one of the shops?

    Secondly, it would be a rather OK concept being able to change between settings, but having puzzles that would be solvable within a single setting. This way, you could choose which puzzle to solve first, it would still be more "directed", and you would not loose that much of an adventure feeling.

    Thirdly, "more directed" does not necessarily mean that there is nothing to explore or that the puzzles are all easy. This might just mean that there are stronger hints as to what area you should visit next.

    I'm a big fan of the idea that we'd get a map of Hill Valley and explore different areas of the town - and I wonder if this statement rules this out or not.
  • I'm really worried about this too. Telltale's games are already extremely linear.
  • I'm not worried about linearity a bit. The best adventure games in history have no problem with their linearity. What interestest me much more is what amount of good and challenging puzzles we'll see.
  • I'm not worried about linearity a bit. The best adventure games in history have no problem with their linearity. What interestest me much more is what amount of good and challenging puzzles we'll see.

    Do you have an example of what you would regard as a best adventure game in history that is particularly linear?
  • Now you see the dilemma of Telltale "growing up." Part of why Telltale has made such great games so far is that they're a small company working for a small fanbase. They've never had to worry about compromising their quality for the sake of mass appeal. The thing is, though, Telltale is steadily getting bigger, and with it they want a bigger audience. (Which we can't exactly fault them for. If you were a game developer, wouldn't you want as many people paying attention to your game as possible?) That's a tricky task for any new developer as it is, but Telltale specializes in a genre most people these days haven't heard of, let alone played.

    Look at Sam and Max: The Devil's Playhouse. Telltale was definitely hoping for a lot of people to play it, and they adjusted the game accordingly. You'll probably notice that the puzzles in TDP were generally easier than those in the first two seasons. (The Penal Zone was probably the worst offender, with them plain feeding you most of the answers.) That doesn't make The Devil's Playhouse bad (it was great!), but it had to suffer a change so the general public could handle it.

    Now, Back to the Future is a big license. Almost everybody's seen the movies, and the few who don't still know the name. People who've never heard of Telltale before (and still don't, in a way) have started talking about "that new Back to the Future game." Realistically, when BttF comes out it's probably going to bring in even more newcomers (not just to Telltale, but adventure gaming as a whole) than The Devil's Playhouse did. Unfortunately, that probably means making things even more accessible for newcomers. It sucks to hear, but if Telltale continues to make games that exclusively cater to their established fanbase, they'll never reach beyond their established fanbase.

    I hope the whole game isn't reduced to just "You're stuck in an area, solve a puzzle to go to the next area, repeat." Some watering down is necessary for newcomers, but being new isn't the same as being stupid. I'm sorry to be blunt, but if somebody needs things simplified that much to enjoy Telltale, then they were never meant to be a fan. Still, the Telltale Team is made up of some pretty smart people, so I'm sure they know what they're doing.

    And if you think any toning-down for newcomers at all is an inherently bad thing, just remember this: the LucasArts classics that Telltale has modelled their own games after were themselves toned-down versions of the adventure genre for people who couldn't handle the Infocom/Sierra style of "Everything that doesn't help you will either kill you or place you in an unwinnable situation." ;)
  • Sierra was sadistic... I don't remember being able to finish one single game made by them.

    LucasArts, however, got the perfect formula. If you ask me, I'd rather spend 3 months trying to solve a game, banging my head on the keyboard, than solving it in three hours (like the Sam and Max episodes from season 3).

    However, those 3 hours I spent on any given Telltale episode were top notch. It's quality over quantity.

    Sure, it was fun to figure out I had to use sugar water in a jar to trap fireflies and use scissors to poke holes in the lid so I can use the whole thing as a lantern in the lighthouse (MI3)... took me 4 months (not kidding) and it was extremely satisfying!! Dude, I figured that out! Me! All by myself! I feel smart! But nowadays people don't have that much time on their hands and Telltale is (probably) aiming to make you feel smart in a shorter period of time.

    If you ask me, they did it nicely.
  • If you ask me, I'd rather spend 3 months trying to solve a game, banging my head on the keyboard, than solving it in three hours

    Well, this sums it up. I think the biggest difference that happened in gaming (and by that, adventure gaming) industry when you look back and today are - puzzles. And i think the puzzles are the key to adventure game recognition nowadays.

    In those days, it was fun being stuck. No internet, no walkthroughs, and adventure game developers were practically racing to who will make more ingenious puzzles.

    Then, phenonema called fast internet and casual games happened. Now, it's really interesting how that two are contradictory but still directly proportional because when you think of it - wouldn't developers wanted to make smaller and easier games back when potential buyer had only 1kb/s of download?

    Now, mass produtions happened and every genre is influented in a way. Asking of Telltale to make the game for die-hard traditional adventure purists would be too much, but i'm sure they'll make their well-balanced level of inspiring puzzles and difficulty.
  • In those days, it was fun being stuck. No internet, no walkthroughs, and adventure game developers were practically racing to who will make more ingenious puzzles.

    When I was but a very small child, and my parents played with my older brother in Space Quest 2, they've played through somewhere basically 90% of the game, and got stuck (right before leaving Labion to Vohaul's fotress). Big time. Only years later, when I had grown up, we learned that it was because they didn't check the lockers in the second room in the whole game (one you can visit only once, basically).

    What I want to say is this: I like old games (as I do new ones). Play them all the time (well, free time, if I have some). I respect them, but I'm not one of those who remembers those times when the sky was brighter and the grass was greener, and unicorns were jumping around our lands when everyone was happy and wishes for them to return. Games, and the adventure genre, was evolving. And it still is. Maybe something is not like we would've wanted it to be, but personally, I'm glad that the times of dead ends and puzzles so ridiculously 'ingeniously' complicated and convoluted that you can't imagine what the hell the designer was thinking and where's the logic have passed.

    I remember playing 'The Abbey' some time ago (a german adventure game, I think the USA release name is different... as always :p ). What I liked in that game is that the puzzles there are so perfectly logical, that even if you're stuck, you use LOGIC to come up with an answer, and not a 'use everything with everything' (basically, that's what happens in adventure games when someone's totally stuck, and I consider that to be a bad thing). In fact, the puzzles are so logical that to an old-time adventure gamer like me who has seen some serious shit, it even seemed very easy. But I liked it very much, it was very enjoyable and didn't require me to guess what was the designer smoking at the time, really used my brains, and everything had fit perfectly into the game world and narrative.
  • Yes, the most fun for me of being stuck is that practically all my family ended behind me helping and saying "Wait, but have you tried this?" and stuff like that. It turned from a solo playing into playing with your family! It was extremly fun, and every time I remember a beautiful smile draws on my face.

    For example, one of that cases what the first Monkey Island or the Carmen San Diego. Great games, and the feeling of accomplishment when you solved something difficult was one of the best sensations I remember from my childhood.

    And now... Well, it's kinda dissapointing what games kids enjoy today... I don't think I could call my aunt or my dad to help me kill a thousand of prostitutes in the GTA games, right?
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